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Tourism Research

LIVE (Llŷn IVeragh Eco-museums) aims to enable coastal communities to promote the natural and cultural assets of both peninsulas, Pen Llŷn in north Wales (Gwynedd), and Iveragh in southwest Ireland (Kerry). As such, LIVE is undertaking tourism research to explore opportunities for sustainable tourism, especially outside of the traditional peak tourist seasons. In the following, we provide some details about the research projects for (potential) participants and anyone who may be interested in the research.

An important aspect of LIVE is the knowledge exchange between the two peninsulas. Therefore, anonymous data and findings will be shared with project partners in Wales and Ireland. The findings will also be presented at public (community) events, webinars, and may be presented at conferences and published in journals. We will update this webpage to highlight where the findings will be presented.

Knowledge gaps and aspects of Iveragh peninsula’s natural environment important to local communities

Previously, we conducted an online survey of local environmental knowledge, which was guided by a Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) approach. This study was carried out to identify knowledge gaps and aspects of the Iveragh peninsula’s natural environment important to local communities. We identified several knowledge gaps and aspects of the natural environment. These were divided into three categories: environmental knowledge, e.g., about specific species, general wildlife, and natural and cultural aspects; natural and cultural features and their influence on resident well-being and sense of pride of the area; and outdoor activities as a form of interaction between individuals and their natural environment. The data also revealed spatial patterns, including: a significant coastal trend for personal well-being, sense of pride, and natural features; a keen interest in natural heritage, even with no direct economic benefit; and a strong link between natural and cultural aspects across the peninsula. The main suggestions for sustainable off-season tourism made by communities were: promotion of outdoor activities, promotion of Dark Skies, local festivals and workshops, nature trails and guided walks, and resources for tourism.

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Currently, we are involved in / carrying out four research projects
1

Engagement with natural and cultural heritage on the Llŷn and Iveragh Peninsulas

2

Creating visitor experiences: Developing a sustainable tourism strategy for Pen Llŷn, Wales

3

Key performance indicators - Identifying sustainable and regenerative tourism opportunities on the Llŷn Peninsula

4

Tourism carrying capacity on the Iveragh Peninsula

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1. Engagement with natural and cultural heritage on the Llŷn and Iveragh peninsulas

This is a social media research study to identify how, where, and when visitors and residents on the Llŷn and Iveragh peninsulas engage with natural and cultural heritage. The aim of the study is to investigate user-generated geographic data from social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Strava, Komoot, AllTrails, and Wikiloc) to identify visitor patterns and popular natural and cultural sites and assets, especially outside traditional peak tourist seasons. The spatiotemporal data will also be used and compared with existing tourism and recreation data (e.g., visitor numbers, visitor and resident satisfaction levels with sites/assets, tourism's contribution to preserving local art and culture, infrastructure improvements) to identify sustainable natural and cultural tourism opportunities. This study aims to answer the following questions:

  1. Where do residents and visitors engage with natural and cultural heritage on the peninsulas?

  2. How do residents and visitors engage with natural and cultural heritage on the peninsulas in terms of their activities?

  3. When do residents and visitors engage with natural and cultural heritage on the peninsulas?

 
 
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2. Creating visitor experiences: Developing a sustainable tourism strategy for Pen Llŷn, Wales

We are inviting everyone who’s visiting the Llŷn Peninsula this summer or autumn, or who has visited the Llŷn Peninsula in the past, to participate in a visitor survey. The aim of the survey is to gather information about visitors’ interests in the cultural and natural heritage the peninsula has to offer, and how we can create a more sustainable tourism economy here. The survey consists of a questionnaire, divided into 5 sections:

  1. Trip characteristics

  2. Cultural interests

  3. Natural interests

  4. Sustainability

  5. Demographics

It should take about 10-15 minutes to complete the questionnaire, as most questions are multiple choice. There is also the opportunity for respondents to write more about their experiences, hopes, and desires by answering some open questions. The responses will help us to identify opportunities to improve the visitor experience and sustainable tourism offer here on the Llŷn Peninsula. We are very grateful for everyone’s time and participation, as this will contribute to achieving our project aims: to enable Pen Llŷn to be a home and a destination, providing opportunities for the communities today and in the future to prosper in their own locale on their own terms whilst enriching the visitor experience, and moving away from ‘extractive’ tourism.

The survey aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are current patterns of people visiting the Llŷn Peninsula (where/when/how do they visit the peninsula and what activities do they do)?

  2. What do visitors value most about the Llŷn Peninsula?

  3. What cultural/ natural experiences are visitors interested in?

  4. What opportunities are there to offer more sustainable visitor experiences?

Detailed information for participants
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3. Key performance indicators - Identifying sustainable and regenerative tourism opportunities on the Llŷn peninsula

In cooperation with Gwynedd Council, one of the LIVE’s project partners, and Snowdonia National Park we are developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for sustainable tourism. These include socio-cultural, environmental, and economic impacts. As part of the process, we are gathering data and including the findings from the previous two studies to measure the KPIs. The aim is to explore tourism trends, evaluate the current tourism context, and identify challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism development on the Llŷn peninsula. This project aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the most important KPIs on the Llŷn peninsula?

  2. What are the gaps in data to measure KPIs?

  3. What are the main challenges for developing sustainable tourism actions?

  4. How can the opportunities be turned into actions?

 
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4. Tourism carrying capacity on the Iveragh Peninsula

The European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON) have commissioned the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Modul University to carry out a project on the carrying capacity for tourism in the Iveragh Peninsula. In collaboration with local tourism stakeholders, the project aims to assess the current tourism situation in order to develop and shape policies and actions plans for the long-term and sustainable development of the local tourist industry, as the sector emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. This project aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the needs, problems and challenges related to tourism activities in the area?

  2. How do regional development aspects (such as socio-cultural and economic qualities) relate to the tourism situation in the area?

  3. What are tourism flows and carrying capacity of the Iveragh Peninsula?

  4. How do local tourism stakeholders define sustainable tourism and how can this be turned into policy recommendations and actions?